When a band was founded by a former Iced Earth drummer (Richard Christy) and also includes a vocalist who previously sang lead with Iced Earth and Judas Priest (Tim "Ripper" Owens), one has a pretty good idea what the band is going to sound like. The expectation is melodic power metal, which is exactly what Charred Walls of the Damned provide on their self-titled debut album. This is a 2010 release, but it might as well have been recorded in the '80s because Charred Walls of the Damned are a 21st century band with a consistently '80s-minded sound; their hard-driving but nuanced approach is a combination of Iced Earth, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden. Parts of the disc are somewhat thrashy -- bassist Steve DiGiorgio, in fact, is known for his contributions to Testament and Death -- but power metal, not thrash metal, is the main ingredient. And while the material is by no means groundbreaking, all of it is solid. This 35-minute CD doesn't pretend to take metal in any new directions, but it pleases -- and there is no doubt that Owens gives 100 percent, which isn't surprising when one takes his history into consideration. Owens, of course, was hired as Priest's lead singer after Rob Halford's 1993 departure. Halford (who eventually returned to Priest) was an incredibly tough act to follow, but while the albums that Owens recorded with Priest (1997's Jugulator and 2001's Demolition) aren't among their essential releases, Owens made the most of a challenging situation. Owens is a true professional, and that professionalism comes through on this engaging, if predictable, effort by Charred Walls of the Damned.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2